Happy Census Release Day!

Happy census release day, the most wonderful day of the half-decade! The data we've looked at so far tells some interesting stories...

The biggest news story coming out of the census is our increasing cultural diversity, driven by the migration of young people from Asia:

  • More than 1.3 million migrants over the past 5 years, with the largest sources being India and China
  • Just over a quarter of people are born overseas (26%).
  • England is still the most common country of birth, but overall there are more people born in Asia than in Europe. 
  • In the past 10 years more than three times as many arrivals have come from India and China compared with from England.
  • The median age of Australian residents born in Europe is 59, while for those born in Asia the figure is 35.
  • The five most common countries of birth are England, New Zealand, China, India, and the Philippines.

The other big story is the record number of "no religion" responses, but there is more to this:

  • While there was a record number of "no religion" responses (30%), this was mostly due to a decline in Christian religions. And over half the population (52%) still reported a Christian religion.
  • Other religions are increasing: The proportions of Australians reporting a religion other than Christianity has increased from 2.6% in 1991 to 8.2% in 2016. The highest growth since 1991 is from Hinduism (0.3% to 1.9%), followed by Buddhism (0.8% to 2.4%) and Islam (0.9% to 2.6%).

The census showed record numbers of same-sex couples, but there's not much data on the gender question...

  • The census counted about 46,800 same-sex couples in 2016, an increase of 39% since 2011.
  • One-quarter of female same-sex couples had children, compared to 4.5% for male couples.
  • This year, the ABS enabled people to record their sex as "other sex". Looks like we're waiting until October to see any analysis of these responses.

There's also a lower proportion of separate houses, but household types have remained remarkably steady from 2011.

  • Separate houses decreased from 76% of households in 2011 to 73% in 2016. Semi-detached, row housing, town houses, flats and apartments increased to make up just over one-quarter of housing (26%).
  • There were 6.1 million families on census night. Couples with children still make up the majority of families.
  • The average household size across Australia decreased from 2.8 people in 1991 to 2.6 people in 2011 and 2016.

Some other interesting tidbits:

  • The number and proportion of people providing unpaid care to a person with disability has increased (currently 11.3%, up from 10.9% in 2011)
  • The number and proportion of people doing voluntary work has also increased (19% up from 17.8% in 2011)

But what about the quality of the data?

It's the big question - how big was the #censusfail? Australian statistician, David Kalisch, said "the 2016 Census had a response rate of 95.1% and a net undercount of 1%, meaning the quality is comparable to both previous Australian censuses and censuses in other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom".

What we're reading

There's lots of good analysis coming out as the day goes on. Some places to look:

ABC News "Census results: Australians are older, ethnically diverse and losing their religion"

SBS "Five ways Australia is getting more diverse"

ABS "Snapshot of Australia"

ABC News "This is Australia as 100 people" 

The Guardian "Census 2016 Live"